It’s the mark of a small mind to pretend that rank pirates didn’t ply the waters of the St. Johns, and to a much greater degree than is already suspected.
Pirates Cove in Jacksonville is called that for a reason and has been for centuries.
And why on earth would a long-time treasure hunter in Green Cove Springs imagine that there might be pirate gold buried under the city if he hadn’t gathered evidence that pirates had gone that far down river?
What fascinates Your Examiner about Florida’s colonial history is that such scant attention is paid to Florida’s pirates – not the modern-day cigarette-and-rum runners, but the olden kind with peg legs and only one eye.
Considered one the baddest pirates ever, forexample, Blackbeard (Edward Teach) raided the Florida coast on his way up the Eastern seaboard more times than one..
History With A Capital ‘H’
To read most history texts, you’d think that the Spanish Main was on the other side of the world and not the Gulf of Mexico.
In fact, it wraps around the Florida peninsula with the Gulf Stream on its way back to Europe.
If you don’t believe that the Spanish Main is in the Gulf of Mexico or that ye olde pirates made regular pit stops along the length and breadth of the Florida coast, including at GreaterJax™, watch the History Channel’s True Pirates of the Caribbean.
Don’t miss the first nine minutes.
Yulee & the Buccaneer Trail
There’s not much about present-day Yulee to suggest its pirate past.
There’s the Tradeplex – a Winn-Dixie® store, a great big Lowe®’s (stand-alone) and a Super Wal-Mart® – and a bit of other retail and residential development.
About 9,000 people live there.
Your Examiner posits that the Buccaneer Trail – a real thing, by the way – doesn’t so much begin or end in Yulee as pass through it east-west.
If you can find a map that shows the river system west from Yulee, you’ll see it’s more than likely that the pirates of the Spanish Main had overland and inland-waterway routes through the Okefenokee Swamp that came out on the Gulf Coast, probably at Apalachee Bay.
Utter crap, you say.
- No pirate maps, no pirate captain’s logs, no empirical evidence whatsoever.
- Many ship’s logs aren’t catalogued in historical collections because they’re willed to other captains who pass them to other captains who pass them to still other captains.
- On top of that, pirates lie.
And to each other, let alone the authorities.
Maps drawn wrong on purpose, dummy logs hidden for the legitimate navies to find upon boarding a “seized” pirate vessel.
The usual – there’s not enough gold in Florida to make it more than a stopover, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
If you’ll study even briefly the recorded pirate activity in Apalachee Bay, you’ll realize that people who lived on the river system that runs east-west across north Florida saw more pirates than they told about.
Fernandina Beach & Amelia Island
Because they weren’t annexed by the United States until relatively late, the north end of what is considered the “real Buccaneer Trail” was a safe place to hide and relax and take on provisions before heading down the coast and back around to the Gulf or across the ocean to Ye Olde World.
That’s why the Spanish, the French and the English established forts at the mouth of the St. Johns to protect their trade routes.
It was pirate party-time at the Beach and on the Island between 1811 and 1821.
About 1817, President Monroe considered it of paramount importance to end the lawlessness that was seen to be rampant in northeast Florida, and like the King of England, imposed law and order.
Maybe José Gaspar’s not-exactly-a-surrender to the USS Enterprise in 1821 after 38 years of pirating sounded the death knell for the pirates of the Spanish Main.
Or maybe Henry Morgan cleaned the Main up.
At any rate, today, Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island – both awash in official History-with-a-capital-H and listings on the National Register of Historic Places – do their bit to acknowledge why they were such popular destinations in the first place.
The Buccaneer Trail is much longer than the documented 52 miles
It’s not even fair to say that it ends in St. Augustine.
The St. John’s is a very long and deep river than connects to many hundreds of other long, deep waters, only one of which is the Atlantic ocean.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years, most recently in Texas, is a successful grant writer, knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design and wants to work in the public sector. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org